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Tommy Corbett and Donal Carey of Carey Corbett. Photograph by John Kelly

Cancer and life insurance: what you need to know

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Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and its impact is felt by everyone, including those in Ireland. A cancer diagnosis can be a life-changing event that affects not only the patient but also their loved ones. In addition to the emotional toll, cancer can also have financial implications, especially if the person is unable to work or needs expensive treatment.
According to the Irish Cancer Society, about 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with some form of invasive cancer (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) in their lifetime. Cancer can have a significant impact on your physical, emotional, and financial well-being. That’s why it’s important to have adequate life insurance cover to protect yourself and your loved ones in case of a cancer diagnosis.
Life insurance is a type of insurance that pays out a lump sum of money to your beneficiaries if you die during the term of the policy. Life insurance can help your family cope with the loss of your income, pay off debts, cover funeral costs, and provide for their future needs. Life insurance can also be used to pay off mortgages or loans, which are often secured by life insurance policies.
However, getting life insurance after a cancer diagnosis can be challenging, as insurance companies will assess your risk based on your medical history and current health status. This is called the underwriting process. Depending on the type, stage, and grade of your cancer, as well as the treatments you had and your prognosis, you may face higher premiums, longer waiting periods, exclusions, or even rejection of your application.
There are some things you can do to improve your chances of getting life insurance after cancer, such as:
• Apply as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely your cancer will recur or progress, which will make it harder to get insurance. Some insurance companies may require you to be cancer-free for a certain period of time before they will consider your application.
• Shop around. Different insurance companies have different criteria and policies for underwriting cancer survivors. Some may be more lenient or flexible than others. You can compare quotes from different providers online or with the help of a financial adviser or broker.
• Be honest and provide all the relevant information. You will need to answer questions about your cancer diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care, as well as your family history of cancer. You may also need to provide medical records or reports from your doctor. Lying or omitting information can invalidate your policy or lead to legal consequences.
• Consider alternative options. If you are unable to get traditional life insurance, you may be able to get other types of insurance that can provide some financial protection in case of cancer, such as:
Cancer cover. This is a type of serious illness cover that focuses solely on cancer and pays out a lump sum if you are diagnosed with cancer of a specified severity. It costs less than serious illness cover, but it also covers fewer conditions. As an example, Zurich Life offers cancer cover as an additional benefit to most life insurance policies.
Group life insurance. This is a type of life insurance that is provided by your employer or a professional association as part of your benefits package. It usually covers you for a multiple of your salary and does not require individual underwriting. However, it may have lower limits and exclusions, and it may not be portable if you change jobs or retire.
Guaranteed issue life insurance. This is a type of life insurance that does not require any medical questions or exams. It is usually offered to people who are older or have health issues that make them ineligible for other types of insurance. However, it also has higher premiums, lower payouts, and longer waiting periods before the full benefit is paid.
Work with an experienced insurance agent
Working with an experienced insurance agent can help you navigate the process of obtaining life insurance after cancer in Ireland. An agent can help you understand your options, compare rates, and find a policy that meets your needs. They can also advocate on your behalf if your application is rejected or if you have difficulty obtaining coverage.
In conclusion, getting life insurance after cancer in Ireland is possible, but it requires some effort and research. It is important to be honest about your medical history, wait until you are in remission, consider a guaranteed issue policy, shop around for the best rates, consider a group policy, and work with an experienced insurance agent. By taking these steps, you can provide financial security for your loved ones and have peace of mind knowing that they will be taken care of in the event of your untimely death.
Cancer and life insurance are two topics that are often intertwined and can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. However, by being informed, proactive, and realistic, you can find the best solution for your situation and secure your financial future.
For more information and support, you can contact the Irish Cancer Society.
Carey Corbett Financial Solutions are Independent Financial Brokers specialising in pensions, mortgages, investments and retirement planning and can be contacted on 065-6893540.

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